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For K-State football, the power struggle is here

Per a report, K-State had an agreement to hire Jim Leavitt. Bill Snyder disapproved. Buckle up.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

Former ESPN and CBS college football reporter Brett McMurphy reports today that K-State had an agreement with Jim Leavitt to become its head-coach-in-waiting and head coach in 2018. Quoting from McMurphy’s report:

Jim Leavitt had a verbal agreement last year to become Kansas State’s head coach-in-waiting and become its current coach in 2018, but KSU coach Bill Snyder nixed it because he wanted his son Sean as his replacement.

Sources said Kansas State’s top officials, including president Richard Myers, and the school’s highest-profile boosters were all on board with Leavitt, then a Colorado assistant, joining KSU's staff and then replacing the legendary Snyder after the 2017 season. Leavitt and the school had an agreement, guaranteeing Leavitt $3 million if he wasn’t named K-State’s coach by Jan. 1, 2018.

However, last December, Snyder pushed back on Leavitt, a former KSU assistant, being named his replacement because Snyder wanted his son Sean, currently KSU’s associate head coach and special teams coordinator, to replace him, sources said.

First, a point of order. Bill Snyder does not have the contractual authority to nix a hiring decision by the athletic director. He can provide appropriate input, but as I read it, the contract does not provide that he has final authority on the hire. Most likely, he told those who presented the plan to him that he did not approve, and they decided not to force the issue at the time.

McMurphy later reports that K-State officials planned to reconsider the Leavitt issue after the 2016-17 season ended, but dropped it while Snyder battled throat cancer. And also, probably, because the Wildcats finished the season on a roll and looked poised for a big season in 2017.

There’s a lot more going on here than meets the eye. Let’s attempt to wade through the assumptions.

McMurphy’s report wasn’t an accident. It was leaked on purpose.

Bill Snyder has said unequivocally, in quotations, that he wants Sean to succeed him as head coach. Sean Snyder wouldn’t be considered for any other Power 5 head coaching job. His only credentials are coaching a consistently good special teams unit and carrying the surname Snyder.

Bill Snyder has also said, as far back as 2015, that Sean Snyder “runs our program.” Since 2015, K-State is 20-16.

Most likely, this means that someone in, or associated with, the athletic department does not want to hire Sean Snyder to succeed his father. Bill Snyder has so far refused to back down behind closed doors at Vanier, so the issue is now up for public referendum. How hard will Snyder fight for Sean?

In any event, the captain has turned on the “fasten seatbelts” sign, K-State fans. We’re about to encounter significant turbulence.